WV senators vote to successfully overturn vaccine mandate


FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Companies with at least 100 workers will be required to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and paid sick leave if they have side effects from the shots. That’s according to a Biden administration official who spoke Monday, Nov. 1, about pending vaccine-mandate rules from OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia officials of both parties have voted to reject President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses.

Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Joe Manchin (D) both voiced their opposition to the mandate and voted to overturn it. The vote, which took place on Wednesday, Dec. 8, overturned the mandate 52 to 48.

I’ve heard from countless West Virginians who strongly oppose President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate, and for good reason. Not only would this federal overreach jeopardize more than 300,000 jobs in our state, but it also robs individuals of their ability to make decisions for themselves. On behalf of all West Virginians, I was proud to join my colleagues today in blocking President Biden’s anti-freedom, anti-worker policy.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito statement, Dec. 8, 2021

 I do not support any government vaccine mandate for private businesses. It is not the place of the federal government to tell private business owners how to protect their employees from COVID-19 and operate their businesses. We should incentivize, not penalize, private employers to encourage vaccination among their employees. That is why I cosponsored the bill and voted last night to overturn the federal government vaccine mandate for private businesses.

Senator Joe Manchin statement, Dec. 9, 2021

Senator Manchin has supported other vaccine mandates, including federal employees and the military, stating that “maintaining the essential services and military readiness the federal government provides is a matter of national importance.”

Other West Virginia officials have also opposed the Biden vaccine mandates. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined in several lawsuits against the Biden Administration. Earlier this week, Morrisey joined officials from six other states to block the vaccine mandate for federal contractors. And at the end of November, a 12 state coalition, including West Virginia, won a lawsuit against the Biden Administration concerning a national vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

West Virginia remains one of the least vaccinated states with a total vaccination rate of only 50.4 of residents fully vaccinated. In his Thursday COVID briefing, Governor Jim Justice reasoned, “West Virginia is a very, very, very conservative state and in a lot of situations people can get afraid and people are somewhat leery of the federal government.”

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